Your vote matters. It’s understandable to think that one vote can’t make a difference, but remember that many elections were decided over a few hundred votes, even presidential elections in a country of nearly 330 million people.
Presidential elections are important, but they’re not the only important elections. Local elections sometimes have more impact on our day to day lives because local elected officials are the ones making important decisions about core services like law enforcement, emergency services, transportation, housing, and water access and quality. For example, it’s mayors who make decisions about land use and development, housing, job programs, transportation policies and investments in parks or libraries. And it’s district attorneys who decide how to address police brutality and inequities in sentencing, and advocate for changes to cash bail standards.
In order to achieve health equity in California we must challenge racist policies and champion anti-racist policies that protect our diverse communities and ensure optimal health and well-being for all Californians. Who we elect matters and that’s why we must vote in every election, especially the local ones, which often take take place once a year. If you have been disenfranchised due to a past felony conviction or if you’re undocumented, there are many other ways to participate in your local civic life. You can help get out the vote, you can educate your community members about propositions on the ballots, you can take elderly neighbors to the polling stations and translate for them, you can advocate for more polling stations in underserved neighborhoods, you can attend town halls, ask questions, and raise awareness. Do not get discouraged. We need you. Together, we are more powerful.
How to Register to Vote
You can apply to register to vote right now by filling out this online application.
The application is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese.
Who Can Register to Vote
To register to vote in California, you must be:
- A United States citizen and a resident of California (for information on voters in the military or overseas, see Military and Overseas Voters)
- 18 years old or older on Election Day
- Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony (for more information, see Voting Rights: Persons with a Criminal History)
- Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (for more information, see Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship)
Not Sure If You Are Registered?
To find out if you are currently registered to vote, visit Check Status of Your Voter Registration.
When Are the Next Local Elections?
As a California voter, be aware that local elections in some areas are held on dates that do not coincide with statewide election dates. To find out when the next local election is scheduled to take place in your city or county, see this County Administered Elections page.
For any questions related to your local elections, contact your county elections office.
When Do I Need to Re-Register?
You will need to re-register to vote if you:
- Changed your residence address or mailing address
- Changed your name
- Change your political party choice
You can use the same form to re-register as you would to register. Re-register here.
How to Pre-Register to Vote
Eligible 16 or 17 year olds can pre-register to vote, which means that you can register early and your registration will become active when you turn 18. Pre-registration does not change the voting age, which is 18. Instead, it allows eligible Californians ages 16 or 17 to complete the online voter registration form early enough to give them sufficient time to get ready to vote.
Pre-register to vote here. In California, you must be 16 or 17 years old, and meet the other eligibility requirements to vote (see above).
California Motor Voter
The California Motor Voter program is making registering to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) more convenient. Eligible applicants completing a driver license, identification (ID) card or change of address transaction online, by mail or in person at the DMV will be automatically registered to vote by the California Secretary of State, unless they choose to opt out of automatic voter registration. For more information, visit California Motor Voter.